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Our Housewarming Party

October 4, 2003. San Leandro California. It was a warm, pleasant evening. We were feeling fairly relaxed and casual as most of our preparations were done, just some food left to get ready. Then people started arriving a half hour before the party was supposed to begin.  What the hell?!? No one shows up early. People only start arriving an hour after the start time. It was weird and threw us off a bit as we attempted to give tours of the house and finish getting the food ready at the same time. It all smoothed out after a bit - the food (and plenty of it) was out and we had the spiel down for the house tour. Our egos were properly gratified as everyone ooh'd and aah'd over our decorating skills. At one point, we came down the stairs to find a low roar of conversation, people packed in the every room, and warmth filling our new home. Crystal and I have come up with a formula for a good party and it hasn't failed us yet.

1. Provide plenty of yummy food, include hot hors d'oeuvres and a tray of exotic cheeses (well, that's more for us than the guests, but we're known for it now)

2. Invite twice as many people as you actually want to show up, including people from all of your different social circles

3. Put good music on in the background, low enough to be easily talked over, but loud enough to be heard - jazzy stuff, Cole Porter, 80's New Wave, etc.

That's it. Keep it simple. We talked, people who met each other at our party talked for hours, people who'd known each other forever talked. It was a very chatty party. After midnight, it was officially my birthday. Caramel apple cheesecake was served and the over 30 crowd gathered in the living room to initiate me in the sacred mysteries. I had no idea so many of our friends were part of this group. Only a few people were left in the kitchen to wonder at our secret knowledge and very loud laughter.

The last guests left around two am and we went to bed around 3 knowing our house and our hearts had been very thoroughly warmed.


It's good to work for a company that understands the importance of Halloween. Every department got some money to decorate. 80% of the employees dressed up. At 2pm, work came to a screeching halt as everyone headed over to the party. I was a bit disappointed that most people thought my Goldilocks costume made me a French maid, but I had a great time nonetheless. You know you are at a rocking company when the room is full of fog machines, strobe lights, creepy statues and displays, a dance floor, and a kickin' dj. Then there was the food - hmmm... everything from shrimp cocktails to sushi to caramel apples. The punch confused me for a bit until I figured out that the floating ice cubes were in fact jello cubes, liberally spiked. The costume contest was amusing with a wide variety of ideas ranging from company in-jokes to topical grotesquery (more than one person dressed as Roy with blood dripping down his neck and a stuff animal tiger on his back). Anyone not wearing a costume was invited to visit the mask table where they could create a mask or use face paint to get into the spirit. Yeah baby, that's my kind of Halloween work day.

After work wasn't bad either, we switched costumes and went to a Disaster House party. Tons of lovely alcohol (mmmm... port) and interesting people to see and talk to.  A pirate theme and a liberal household made for costumes quite a bit more risque than seen earlier in the day. Our leather waist cinches were much admired. We pumpkin'd shortly after midnight, but left in good spirits and good health - secure in the feeling of another Halloween profitably spent.

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